The judging of Elle Decoration’s Boardmans SOLVE New Talent Search Competition took place yesterday at DECO editor Laureen Rossouw’s city apartment. Industry heavyweights Trevyn and Julian McGowan, designers Haldane Martin and Porky Hefer, Boardmans’ Scott Murray and DECO editor Laureen Rossouw met up to decide on the finalists and winner of SOLVE.

The competition brief asked for young designers to come up with an original and marketable designer stool for Boardmans. Entries came in from across South Africa (Cape Town, Durban and Joburg), with the youngest entrant an astonishing age 12!

We asked the judges what they’re looking for from young local talent:

Trevyn McGowan: ‘An aesthetic originality and unique voice. To succeed you need true ambition and drive. You need to fight! It’s so difficult to succeed in our market.’

Porky Hefer: I would like to see more exploration of our local context. The whole world is looking at Africa, and we’re looking at them. That’s confusing! We should be looking at our context, cause that’s where the ideas are. I’m also looking for comfort. In the olden days I used to look at chairs and would want to sit in them. Today it’s just design. Design for design’s sake has taken over. The main function should be comfort.’

Haldane Martin: ‘I’m looking for practicality and a high level of detail and craftsmanship. The design needs to translate into reality. The finalists all understood this, and some even made up prototypes, which is important when designing.’

Scott Murray: ‘I’m looking for commercial appeal from these designers. The designs need to reflect the Boardmans ethos. I think this competition is a great way of showcasing local design and talent to our consumer.’

The finalists and winner will be announced during November at a special Elle Decoration/Boardmans SOLVE event, and will be featured in our Outdoor/Summer Issue, on shelf 21 November.